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Oil shipping companies indicted for alleged pollution in Pacific Ocean

The U.S. Attorney’s office has secured an indictment against two shipping companies and an engineer on an oil tanker, charging them with dumping oil in the Pacific Ocean on at least four occasions.

The companies, FGL Moon Marshall Limited, Unix Line Pte Ltd. (“Unix”), as well as engineer Gilbert Dela Cruz, are charged with violating a federal anti-pollution act, as well as aiding and abetting pollution, and obstruction of justice. The charges carry up to 20 years in prison and fines totaling $1.5 million, prosecutors said.

The criminal complaint alleges that when the oil tanker Zao Galaxy was docked in Richmond and being inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard, a crewman on board passed the inspector a note alluding to illegal activity that occurred prior to docking. Investigators found four videos documenting illegal discharges of oil waste into the ocean, about three miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The complaint alleges that Dela Cruz ordered crewmen to dump the oil and take steps to conceal what had happened, including repainting bilge tanks. Two whistleblowers on the ship agreed to cooperate with investigators, authorities said.

One of the whistleblowers, identified in court records as “Crew Member Two,” told authorities Dela Cruz “ordered him to pump the oily waste overboard three to four times” in January and February, and, “to do so only when it was dark outside.”

The complaint alleges that in 2003, the company Unix was convicted of charges in a plea deal after a similar illegal scheme in Washington.
Source: Mercury News

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